Visitors, appreciating classical music in spite of being uncomfortable, a vision in purple

I’ve noticed that one of my regular visitors, recently, is from Oregon in the US.  It’s probably not soon enough, but welcome.  Nice to see you and, may I point out, that this entry is really for you as you are keep returning, probably looking for a new post.

Last night we went to a church near the Conservatorio (Academy of Music) here, in Milan.  It was supposed to be something like Bach – a bit of choral, a bit of organ and a bit of strings and wind instruments.  And a mad, over-dramatic conductor.

So, there we are listening to this stuff (the choral was good, the strings not bad, but, to be frank, the organ and wind stuff was just downright boring) on pews that are harder than rock and me, with no extra fat to sit on and, to be honest, it wasn’t particularly comfortable, especially during the boring bits.

Some of what may have been the great and good in Milan were there with an average age of about 95 (that’s a joke, obviously, but most were well past retirement age).  In fact, it was a little like going to an event at the Hay Festival.  Not only the well-heeled but also the ordinary, slightly scruffy, windcheater-wearing, joe public.

In fact, the lady in front of me, was one of the windcheater variety.  Her chair was just a little too close to my pew which meant, whilst she had enough legroom to allow an elephant to pass in front of her, my knees were touching the back of her chair – but when she sat back, as it was a plastic chair and ‘gave’ with the pressure, I could not sit with my knees in front of me but either had to turn slightly or stretch my legs out under her chair.

It was when she got fidgety that the problem started.  Forward, back, forward, back she went which was more than a little annoying, to be honest.

Most of the seats were facing the altar area, where the chorus and strings were placed but there were alcoves on either side of the altar space, underneath the two organs which were set on balconies overlooking the congregation.

There were a few people sitting in these alcoves and, effectively, they faced the audience rather than the musicians and chorus.

And then, about halfway through the concert, this vision in purple walks in and goes to sit in the alcove, to the left, the side we were sitting.  She, for it was a lady, had a child in tow.  Probably about 10 years old, long blond hair and very well behaved.  The problem was that this lady had, what seemed at first glance, a muslim-type dress, with a chiffon-style head scarf that seemed (and may have been) part of the dress, worn loosely on her head, covering her jet-black hair.  It seemed a bit strange for her to be in this catholic church listening to Christian music.

I say it was muslim style only in terms of the head-dress and the look of the material, but in one way it was very different.  That is, it was as short as a mini skirt!  So, apart from the musicians to look at and the back of the annoying woman in front of me, suddenly it was so difficult not to stare at the purple lady.  She was at once fascinating and out of context.  After a couple of pieces of music they got up again and left.  Very strange.

At the end, the mad conductor came back to rapturous applause and, at one point I was convinced he was about to do a handstand!

‘A’ was, of course, devastated by the whole thing as he had made the suggestion and, as I say, it wasn’t that good.  But as I said to him, if you don’t go to these things, you never find the gems in life.

And finally, my love to S at Hay (I wish I was with you Babe, just to help out) and regards to Oregon, if you visit today.

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